Date of Award

Summer 2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

School of Strategic Leadership Studies

Advisor(s)

T. Dary Erwin

Karen A. Ford

Randy Mitchell

Abstract

Higher education has been called upon to validate its contribution to society. With its purpose of the public good, higher education must to show its ability to benefit individuals and society beyond graduation rates and employment statistics. Preparing students to be engaged citizens is critical in continuing to improve society and our communities. Recent initiatives, including the American Democracy Project of the AASC&U and Campus Compact (2010) have focused on encouraging and teaching undergraduates to be engaged citizens. It is important to assess student engagement, participation in educational activities and experiences during college, as it relates to an individual becoming engaged within their communities beyond college. Engaged citizenship incorporates an individual’s involvement, interactions with others, and responsibilities within their community. This study examines the relationship between student engagement in college and engaged citizenship 6 to 10 years after graduation. The study also examined predictors of participation in voluntary organizations post-graduation. The National Survey of Student Engagement subscales of emphasis on diversity, collaborative learning, and varied educational experiences were used to measure student engagement as it relates to engaged citizenship. Then the Modified Citizen and Involvement survey was used to measure engaged citizenship in early adulthood with subscales of participation in voluntary organizations, diverse personal networks, citizen norms, and generalized trust. The MCI subscales were examined for reliability and found to have a moderate to good fit with the data. The path analysis revealed a moderate relationship between interactions with others who are different in college and diverse personal networks in early adulthood. The NSSE subscales were found to be predictive of the type participation in volunteer organizations and if an individual took on a leadership role. Participation in co-curricular activities, volunteering, and community based learning in college, however, were found to be stronger predictors of participation in volunteer organizations and leadership roles, than the subscales measuring student engagement.

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